As 2021 comes to an end, we want to reflect on this year as a time of resilience and strength. 

This was a big year for StoryCorps. We heard from an amazing number of participants that wanted to share their stories with the world, and as of fall 2021 we have returned to in-person recording. We are thankful for the success of StoryCorps Connect as a virtual platform, and will continue to offer the virtual opportunity as well as in-person recording with COVID-19 precautions.

This year, we released many amazing broadcasts and animated shorts highlighting your voices. Below, enjoy and revisit some of these stories that we shared in 2021. We look forward to recording, preserving, and sharing more stories with you in 2022!

20th Anniversary of September 11th

We commemorated the 20th anniversary of September 11th with two new animations: “Father Mychal’s Blessing” and “September 12th” as part of our September 11th Initiative. This mission of this project is to record at least one story commemorating each life lost during the attacks on September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center Bombing.

Father Mychal’s Blessing

Father Michael Duffy came to StoryCorps to remember his friend, Father Mychal Judge, the beloved chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who was the first certified fatality of the September 11th attacks.

September 12th

“I felt there was no place for me in the world.” 

On September 11th, Vaughn Allex checked in two passengers arriving late for their flight. He learned later that they were two of the hijackers of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. At StoryCorps, he recalled the toll it took on him.

Living History

From the civil rights movement to the polio vaccine, these first-hand accounts of historical moments remind us how “history” is often closer to the present day than we realize.

“Kneeling over his body, all I could hear was, ‘I may not get there with you.'”
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“He Did His Own Eulogy”: An Eyewitness Recalls Dr. King’s Final Speech

Clara Jean Ester came to StoryCorps in Mobile, Alabama, to talk about bearing witness to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final days.

“He could take something mundane like that and see the magic in it.”
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A Spoonful Of Sugar: How A Vaccine Inspired A Disney Classic

Jeffrey Sherman came to StoryCorps with his wife to talk about how getting a vaccine sparked the creation of one of Disney’s most famous songs.

“You know, it's strange to get called out by the mother of civil rights...”
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A Pastor Who Was Once A Mischievous Child, Pays Tribute To “The People That Nurtured Me”

Rev. Farrell Duncombe came to StoryCorps with his friend Howard Robinson, to reflect on the people who nurtured him — including his Sunday school teacher, Rosa Parks — and the humility he feels standing at his father’s pulpit.

Military Voices

This year we shared many stories from our Military Voices Initiative, which provides a platform for veterans, service members, and military families to share their stories. These included stories and reflections on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and its impact.

“I was right there between two cultures that I love.”
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For Those Left Behind: An Afghan American Marine Reflects On His Homeland

In 1980, Ajmal Achekzai fled Afghanistan during the onset of the Soviet–Afghan War. Years later, he returned as a U.S marine.

A Life of Honor

Despite being the “perfect sailor,” Joseph Patton was kicked out of the Navy under the assumption that he was gay.

“I don't see him as a symbol. In some way that takes him away from me.”
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The Things That Go Left Unsaid: Remembering A Son and Brother — The First U.S. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Keith Chapman and Lynn Chapman came to StoryCorps to remember their brother and son, Nathan Chapman, the first U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Everyone has a story.

Want yours to be a part of the growing StoryCorps Archive, housed at the Library of Congress? Download the StoryCorps App to record an interview with a loved one and upload it directly to the archive. If an in-person interview isn’t an option, use StoryCorps Connect to record remotely.

Stories of Family

2021 was a big year for stories of families and their many shapes and sizes. Listen to just a few of them below.

Lola’s Work

“It’s her love for us that I remember most.”

Using StoryCorps Connect, Kenneth Tan and his mother Olivia Tan Ronquillo share the lessons and love learned from their grandmother and mother, Crescenciana Tan, who they lovingly called Lola.

Star Bound

An uncle and his nephew share their love for outer space exploration.

Leonardo’s Dreams

“For him, that was the pinnacle of what your life should be.”

Eva Vega-Olds used the StoryCorps App to capture her father’s memories and preserve the sound of his voice in his final days.

“Everybody wanted to be at our house.”
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A Daughter Pays Tribute To The “Mom Every Other Kid Wanted”

Mary Mills and her mother Joyce Carter Mills came to StoryCorps to talk about Mary’s childhood in the 1960s, and why every child in the neighborhood wanted to be at their house.

“I've been searching for a mom all my life. Then I got you…”
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Finding A Mom And “The Power Of Love”: Reflections From A Foster Mother And Daughter

Jade Rone grew up in foster care. Her foster mother died when she was 17, and she was placed in the home of Stacia Parker. Jade talks with Stacia about how they learned to trust one another and deepen their mother-daughter relationship.

“What was going through your mind when I was born?”
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Her Son Wasn’t Expected To Survive. Now He’s Showing Her “How To Live.”

Isaiah Acosta was born with several health issues, including a rare condition called agnathia. He came to StoryCorps with his mother Tarah Acosta to talk about their life together.

Both Ends of the Gun: How Two Men Were Brought Together in Tragedy and Forgiveness

“It took me five years to develop enough courage to come and meet you.”
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In 1995, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed Tariq Khamisa, a student at San Diego State University. Tony became the youngest person in California to be charged as an adult. While Tariq’s father, Azim, was grieving, he came to the realization that “there were victims on both ends of the gun.”

Want to listen to more StoryCorps stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.